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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Morris Ratner | A Monument Man in the Courtroom: Litigating the Holocaust

Lecture on April 7th serves as inaugural event in the UC Hastings Social Justice Speaker Series at UC Santa Cruz.

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Professor Morris Ratner's work on behalf of Holocaust survivors and their children resulted in legal settlements totaling nearly $8 billion.

Professor Morris Ratner will present the inaugural lecture in the UC Hastings Social Justice Speaker Series, to be given by UC Hastings faculty at UC Santa Cruz. Entitled "A Monument Man in the Courtroom: Litigating the Holocaust," this lecture will take place on April 7 at the UC Santa Cruz University Center.

Using his experience litigating Holocaust-era private law claims as a lens, Professor Ratner said his UCSC lecture will also explore "what 'justice' means for victims of major atrocities like the Holocaust, the role of private litigation in advancing social causes, and the ability of individual advocates to prevail on behalf of victims in seemingly lost causes."

Ratner’s discussion of social justice lawyering also will address the extent to which “it matters whether social cause lawyers are members of the groups whose interests they seek to advance. For example, did it matter whether the lawyers in the Holocaust cases were--like the victims--Jewish, gay, or Romani?”

The lecture is free and open to the public, although pre-registration is encouraged to ensure a seat.

This event is co-sponsored by UCSC’s Legal Studies program, Institute for Humanities Research, Politics Department, Jewish Studies program, Neufeld Levin Holocaust Chair Endowment, the Santa Cruz County Bar Association, and the Santa Cruz Women's Lawyers' Association.

<<Register Here>>

Professor Morris Ratner

Morris Ratner is best known for prosecuting Holocaust-era private law claims against Swiss, German, Austrian, and French entities that profited from Nazi atrocities. These organizations retained dormant bank accounts, failed to pay on life insurance policies, and benefited from the use of slave labor. Ratner’s litigation resulted in a series of settlements that, together, yielded payments in excess of $8 billion to victims of Nazi persecution. Many of Ratner’s clients were young children during the Nazi era who had little knowledge of their family’s assets, and no idea how to pursue a case or even from whom to seek justice.

Ratner graduated from Stanford University, BA in Economics (1988) and Harvard Law School, JD (1991). He joined the UC Hastings Faculty in 2012, after teaching at Harvard Law School as a visiting lecturer and then as a visiting assistant professor from 2009 to 2011. Before joining the Harvard faculty, Professor Ratner was a litigator at the San Francisco-based plaintiffs’ firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, where he was a partner for ten years and where he prosecuted product liability, mass personal injury, consumer, and human rights actions. 

UC Hastings Social Justice Speakers Series

The UC Hastings Social Justice Speakers Series features UC Hastings professors giving lectures at UC Santa Cruz on important topics in social justice. After Professor Ratner’s inaugural lecture, several other UC Hastings professors have agreed to offer upcoming lectures.

Provost and Academic Dean Elizabeth Hillman will speak about her efforts to reform the way sexual assault is handled in the military and her work on various congressional committees on this issue.

Professor Hadar Aviram will speak on the American prison system and the transformation of punishment. Her talk will be based on her forthcoming book (to be published by UC Press), Cheap on Crime, which examines the impact of the financial crisis on the American penal landscape.

Professor Joel Paul will speak about legal reform of child labor in a talk entitled “Trading Up: How to Make Globalization Work for People.” The growth in global trade strains the global environment, exploits workers, and challenges traditional cultures. His talk will focus on how society can find a way to harness the market forces of globalization to promote sustainability, improve the lives of workers, and support democratic pluralism.

Professor Osagie Obasogie will speak on how the blind see race, the subject of his new book Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind. The book provides the first look into a previously unknown world – blind people's understanding of race – and discusses what law and society can learn from these experiences as a means to further racial justice.

UC Hastings/UCSC 3+3 Program

UC Hastings College of the Law and UC Santa Cruz entered into an agreement to offer a new joint “3+3 BA/JD” program in February 2014. The program, the first of its kind in the University of California system, will enable UC Santa Cruz students to earn a bachelor's degree and law degree in six years instead of the usual seven.

The UC Hastings/UCSC “3+3 Program” will be open to UCSC students from any UCSC major. There are no special undergraduate curricular requirements, and the proposal does not require any new majors, minors, or new UCSC courses. Students will apply to UC Hastings in the typical manner, although a year earlier than normal, including taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). A letter from UCSC's Legal Studies program coordinator will also be required. The first class of students to enroll at UC Hastings under the new program will matriculate in the fall of 2015.

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